In sunny South Africa, you don’t need to spend hours in the sun to achieve a safe, natural tan. In fact, just a few minutes of sun exposure here and there is enough to get your vitamin D dose for the day, as well as that gorgeous summer glow, without raising your risk of skin cancer. According to CANSA’s Sun Smart Guide, you should avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm when UV radiation is highest.
How to keep your natural tan – safely
When it comes to safe sun exposure, the Cancer Association recommends the following:
- Wear UV protective clothing and loose fitting, thickly woven materials
- Wear a hat with a wide brim that covers your face, neck and ears
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 20 or higher
- Wear sunglasses that block UV rays
- Avoid sunbeds and tanning booths
- Check your skin regularly
Once you’ve achieved your natural tan safely, use our Beauty Editor’s top tips and best buys to help you maintain your natural tan so that you can hold onto that fabulous sun-kissed look a little longer.
Before you start taking those early morning walks or enjoying late afternoon sundownders, it’s important to exfoliate your skin and say goodbye to dead skin cells, which would have accumulated in winter. Tanning over dead skin creates an uneven, streaky looking tan.
Grainy scrubs work best at this time of year. Kalahari’s Desert Mineral Exfoliator, R394 for 200ml, has a light, coarse texture that gently works off any dryness and leaves skin beautifully soft and smooth.
Dove’s Gentle Exfoliating Cream Bar, R12,99 for 100g – is also a great find because it contains natural cleansing agents and gentle exfoliating beads that don’t leave the skin too dry. Don’t forget your hands, knees and elbows, where skin tends to need more TLC.
Always apply sunscreen
It’s never wise to spend time in the sun without using sunscreen. Remember you want to achieve a natural, subtle tan, not burn your skin or raise your risk of skin cancer.
Start by applying two layers. Once the first layer has settled on your skin, apply another layer for extra protection. Always be sure to use a high SPF and a lotion (they always last longer than a spray).
We love Eucerin SPF 50+ Mattifying Sun Fluid For The Face, R239,99 for 50ml to protect your skin from the ageing effects of the sun.
For your body, one of our favourites is Clarins Sun Care Body Lotion Spray 50+, R460 for 150ml. It’s pricey, but it nourishes the skin while protecting it, thanks to a blend of natural botanical extracts. Plus, it’s water and sweat resistant.
How to correct a streaky self tan
Is your self tan looking streaky and messy? One of the best ways to gently remove it without damaging your skin is to use an essential oil. Oils tend to break down the active ingredient in self tan. Try a fragranced oil with some zest like Soil’s 100% Pure Lemon Essential Oil, R49,50 for 10ml. It smells divine and leaves your skin silky soft after removing your self tan.
Top up your tan
If you’re looking for a realistic glow that works with your natural colour, you can’t go wrong with Vichy Capital Soleil Self Tanner Face and Body, R265 for 100ml. which can be used for the face and body. It glides on the skin with no streaks and ideal for sensitive skins.